The list is quite long, but I try to have as minimal "system" as possible. My algorithm follows these principles:
- As few services as possible. A services adds a lot of extra clutter and disadvantages. An account with username and password to keep track of, it might not work offline, worse performance, might track you or give you ads, or introduce recurring billing (not against it, but it adds yet another bill to handle and maybe an extra step to your accounting). Try to use desktop apps in stead.
- Desktop apps. Desktop apps might still be another thing to pay for, to learn, to spend time customising, updating etc. So try to reduce the amount you rely on. Preferable use native apps, and try first with only using default apps.
- Default native apps. These apps are free, and don't include any trackers or ads. If they require an account for syncing, like Apple Notes, you get syncing for free, by using your existing Apple account. No need for new accounts/passwords/subscriptions all the time. You can get really quick up and running on a new system, since you mostly use defaults. You can also much easier do a clean re-installation of your system. They often offer limited customisation options, which can be great, if you are a person that likes to constantly tweak settings (like I was/am). Apple doesn't make money by any of these apps by themselves, so they don't have weird growth incentives like many other apps and services suffer under (e.g. Dropbox and 1Password)
- Is it a problem that needs to be solved? Sometimes a problem can be solved by removing, rather than adding something. The last example that comes to mind was my Apple Watch. I had it for many years, but always struggled with it to find a routine so I could track sleep, but still charge it every day. How I could tweak notification settings so I didn't get overwhelmed by the dings and buzzes, but still got the notifications I wanted. Remember to track my exercises etc etc. In the end I sold my Apple Watch, and that fixed all of these issues, and I have not missed it since. I had introduced the watch without thinking about what problems this would actually solve for me compared to the problems it would introduce. The solution was too realise there wasn't a problem to be solved by this watch, so I could get rid of it.
This list doen't cover everything I use, since some client's will require that I use app/service X. But this is the baseline that I personally find useful and valuable, and uses quite regularly.
- MacBook Pro M1 Max 14" 2021, 32GB RAM – Upgraded last year from the 2018 MBP. This is the perfect laptop! 1-2 days battery life, no heat/noise, escape key is back, extremely responsive and a great increase in screen real estate.
- LG 27" 5K UltraFine (@Office) – Bought this in 2018, and still can't see any better screens than this. Amazing color/brightness, and the design is very sturdy and minimal. Maybe a cheaper "prosumer" display from Apple might change my mind.
- Apple Magic Mouse & Magic Keyboard (@Office) – Works and looks great. I use the swipe gestures for the Magic Mouse. If a black version of the new Magic Keyboards with touch id is released, I might consider it.
- AirPods Pro – Works great. Battery could be better.
💿 Desktop Software
- Apple Mail – I try to reduce email usage as much as possible, so I don't need power user features in my mail app. Only have one email address, unsubscribe from all newsletters immediately and practice inbox zero. So don't have need for anything else.
- Apple Notes – Notes is a great application. I use it for a lot of things. The iOS app has a great document scanner, so I keep al my receipts there, notes for everything I'm working on, writing my blogposts there (and even this page is written in Notes), weekly/monthly/yearly routines ... Now it even has tags, smart filter/folders, Apple Pencil support, task lists, shared notes, shared folders and more stuff than what I really need.
- Apple Reminders – Again, I stick to defaults, and Reminders is good enough for me. Reminders is not as good an app as Notes is, in my opinion, so there are some more room for improvements. But again, it does the basics (and does it well), and last year they added tags and smart lists, which gives much more flexibility. One thing I'm missing is a feature to archive projects. Now you have to delete them, or just put them in a folder. And some improvements to filters like support for both AND and OR (now it's only AND).
- NetNewsWire – RSS is back! It's great to be able to curate your own news feed, and it lets you follow high quality blogs and news sources that have a very infrequent posting schedule. NetNewsWire even support synching your feeds using iCloud, which means you don't have to register/pay for yet another third party service!
- Sketch – Love Sketch! I do all vector based designing here. App icons, website mockups ...
- Pixelmator Pro – For the occasional color correction of pictures, or for the amazing ML background removal function.
- Diagrams – For sketching som diagrams here and there.
- Deliveries – One central location for tracking my packages.
- Network Radar – Very useful for looking at network topology for diagnostics etc.
- Proxyman – I use this for intercepting traffic from my iPhone. This let's me reverse engineer API's used by apps. Often are these easier to reverse engineer than the websites. At my office I reverse engineered the locking system for the building, so I could create my custom Siri Shortcut to open the doors without the geo-location limits. 😅
I don't like online services, I rather prefer to use native desktop apps that works great offline. But some things just are online by nature.
- Apple iCloud – I subscribe to Apple One, which means I get iCloud, Arcade, TV+, and Music.
- Apple Music
👨🏼💻 Web Development
I have, and still do work with lot's of different technologies, but this is my preferred stack, if I get to choose.
- Panic's Nova (with integrated terminal and browser) for editing code
- Preferably Next.js with Sanity for frontend and "CMS"
- Styled with Tailwind CSS
- Deployed to Vercel
- Kaleidoscope for diffing
- Paw for exploring API's and requests
📱 App Development
- Preferably SwiftUI for view layout (it's great to program using the same mental model I use when developing with React/Next.js)
- ComposableArchitecture for a cohesive way of working with app state
🎒 Everyday Carry (EDC)
I don't carry all of this on me at all times, lot of it has a home in my backpack. But I do bring my backpack most places, so all of this should be easily available.
- iPhone 11 Pro
- Apple AirTag keychain
- Key-bak retractable keychain
- Victorinox Spartan Wood pocket knife
- Zippo Classic High Polish Chrome lighter
- Leuchtturm 1917 Plain Paper 120g with pen loop and Sakura Pigma Mikron fineliners